Art • Music • Film • Poetry • Books
Perhaps it was the fear of presencing that led me astray,
An unwillingness to companion myself to my soul’s unchartered edges. So many times, I had resisted God’s nudges.
This moment was different.
And God, who never tires of us,
Was waiting for me just as I was,
Illuminating my way, like the light of a clear blue morning.
Dr. Patricia Chehy Pilette
In Breaking of the Bread
Christ is the panis vitae, the panis angelorum,
the bread of life, the bread of angels.
Born in Bethlehem, the house of bread,
and nourished by Mary, the Mother
of the Eucharist, he has filled us
with all good things.
He turned 5 loaves and 2 fish into overflowing
baskets to feed the multitudes. He broke bread
with the 12, telling them it was his own body.
And days later as the guest of Cleopas and his wife
in Emmaus he once more breaks bread, another sign
of his sharing himself with his followers.
At Mass we memorialize Christ as hostia salutarus,
the sacrificial victim in the small white host
of unleavened bread, the Corpus Christi.
He continues to feed all those who come to the table
of his altar as we consume and are consumed
by the gift of his body in this sacred feast of bread.
Philip C. Kolin
Edited by Luke Macnamara OSB and Martin Brown OSB, ed.
The Liturgical Press, North American edition
The nine biblical readings of the Easter Vigil radiate meaning, plenty of reflection, and enough material to give a retreat for the night that is the “mother of all.” This resource is an incredible liturgical preaching companion and must-have tome to explore each pericope of the seven Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament), the Epistle, and the Gospels for years A, B, and C. As the editors’ state in the Preface, “Spending some time and effort on deepening our encounter with God’s Word in these texts will surely enrich our celebration of the Vigil.”
The collection of “articles” comes from a series of Sunday afternoon presentations at the Glenstal Abbey in Lent 2018. This Abbey is located in Murroe County Limerick, Ireland. The current abbot, Brendan Coffey, is one of the eleven authors, who contributes to the lengthy Preface with an extremely helpful history of the Easter Vigil. Noteworthy are pages XIV and XXI with the explanation of the image of the font as the womb, one rarely preached about at baptisms. The other ten authors may not be well known in North America but should be. One can always learn something new from this fine exploration of the scriptures and pastoral reflection questions that will assist pastors, preachers, and parishes in deepening their appreciation of this great night.
I highly recommend this book, and propose, as did the talks that make up this book, that parishes and/or other Christian communities take time for hearing these readings, studying these texts, examining these articles, and truly deepening the appreciation for why the Church offers this important liturgy. It is an occasion for a new fire, initiation, and renewal of our baptismal covenant. Insights abound and will deepen your focus on a night that celebrates Christ’s rising from the dead and the gift of our salvation.
John Thomas Lane, SSS, Pastor & Liturgical Consultant
Saint Paschal Baylon
Highland Heights, OH
Philip Kolin, Wind & Water Press, 2021.
Wholly God’s: Poems can be ordered from Wind & Water Press, P O Box 5276
Conneaut Lake, PA 16316
Philip Kolin, who wrote Reaching Forever (Cascade Books, 2019), a collection of poems previously reviewed in Emmanuel, has now offered us sacred space to sit awhile and find some respite in his Wholly God’s: Poems, (Wind and Water Press, 2021). Sometimes a book cover does tell us something of what’s inside or in what direction we may be going. The six photos, like the poems themselves, tell the story. Putting the photos in a connective order, we make some conclusions that are verified within. The image of the opened book of the Bible is our starting point, God’s word. It will lead us on the journey depicted simply with the sign of an arrow pointing the way to Camino de Santiago. Our spiritual journey begins. Next in our picture puzzle are the photos of three saints: John the Baptist, Oscar Romero and Mother Teresa, all pilgrims who have walked the path that we are travelling and traveled in their own way through suffering and martyrdom. Our journey continues, knowing we have the eucharistic presence of Christ in the monstrance, the last image to complete the story. And now for a look inside.
This small collection is divided into three sections: “Pilgrims,” “The Corporal Works of Mercy,” and “Martyrs.”
Poetry it is, with a narrative voice, a telling. For instance, there’s the story of “A Woman Who Listened for the Lord.” She slept with the Bible under her head to “hear God’s word in her sleep.” From there she set out to perform simple works of mercy.
In “Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” a poetic homage to her who never abandoned anyone; rather, she “gathered ‘flocks of outcasts.” Other stories wait for us to pause and recollect, to bring to mind our role as God wishes.
The Epilogue – one poem. “All the Earth is Full of God’s Holiness” concludes this collection with a fitting hymn of praise to God, Creator. All the works of mercy, all the suffering, the entire journey must lead us to this: that God is the God of everything, every act and in every step we take.
Our God, in Christ in the Eucharist, represented by the monstrance is our reminder that God is with us always.
This is the takeaway. Pilgrimages, good works of mercy; all lead to one thing. All things belong to God. Everything is Wholly God’s to the exclusion of everything else.
Associate of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
Saint Paschal Baylon
Highland Heights, OH
Thomas P. Rausch, SJ.
The Catholic Church today is truly a global church, at once the world’s oldest institution and a transnational actor. My intention in this book is to survey global Catholicism in an effort to give a brief profile of the church’s dimensions, state of health, polarities both internal and external and emerging trends by looking at Catholic churches around the world. (Introduction p. xv).
Before giving a survey of world Catholicism by continent and country, theologian Thomas P. Rausch SJ gives some of the very important events in the last half of the twentieth century, particularly the Second Vatican Council. It affected not only the Catholic Church, but also all Christian churches and the relationship between the Catholic Church and other religions throughout the world.
In his first chapter, Rausch quotes John J. Markey on Vatican II, that like previous ecumenical councils “The whole Church grows, changes and develops over time in response to the needs of people and cultures that shape and form people’s daily lives.” Unity is more than uniformity. Markey adds the following special characteristics of Vatican II: abundant grace, primacy of baptism, and the rediscovery of the Holy Spirit. Markey recognizes a second revolutionary of the abundance of God’s grace in the world. No longer restricted to the Catholic Church and its sacraments, the council recognized that grace is present in other churches and religions. It is not limited, nor is it a thing. Grace is the relationship with God, a share in God’s life. The Church should be a sign of God’s love for all people. Other churches and ecclesial communities also mediate salvific grace (cf. Nostra Aetate, 2 and Lumen Gentium, 16).
In the remainder of this chapter, Rausch states, “While Vatican II helped in many ways to revitalize, renew, and move the Catholic Church forward, the Catholic Church today still faces many challenges.” He summarizes these challenges thus: declining members of the Catholic Church and loss especially to evangelicals and Pentecostal communities. Another is the sexual abuse scandal now recognized as a global problem. The shortage of priests is another challenge not yet faced. So too is the challenge of how to be Church in an increasingly intercultural and religiously diverse world, one that will demand a decentralization that gives greater authority to national and regional churches. Finally, there is the unpredictable fallout from global and regional pandemics that we have experienced in recent years.
In his apostolic letter Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis sees humanity at a turning point in history, a period of “epochal change” with rapid advances in science and technology and new information systems leading often to anonymous kinds of poor (EG, 522). Francis is both a product of globalization and a pope whose ministry is shaped by the often-challenging relationships between a global Church and the process of globalization. The Church over which he presides is turning toward the Global South and the poor.
Rausch’s book then continues with the details of countries in the following continents: North America, Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific, and Europe. His work cannot say everything about everyone everywhere. His object is a sketch of what the global Church looks like and some of the goals that are appearing with the passing of time and development. He also gives statistics, percentages, and pros and cons of challenges to the Catholic Church.
Chapter eight discusses the future Church, the polycentric Church, with a more inclusive governance. It projects beyond the pandemic and reflects on the peripheries. Ministerial leadership, shortage of priests, and renewing priestly formation will continue to challenge the Church. Sexual abuse is now seen as a global damage to the Church.
There is a new ecumenism in the making. Rausch shares some of what he has learned from Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. and the ecclesiology group of WCC Faith and Order (Ecumenism for a Global Church: Can the Churches of the West and those of the Global South Learn from Each Other).
The author closes his book with a summary sketch of what is happening to the Catholic Church and all of Christianity as well as the interaction with other religions. The leader is Pope Francis and his goal is the blueprint, Evangelii Gaudium, which is the pope’s understanding of Vatican II and the post-conciliar developments that are in process.
Ernest Falardeau, SSS, S.T.D
Hahnenberg looks at Hesburgh’s life and ministry through the two lenses which guided him throughout his life. Hahnenberg reports that Hesburgh wanted to be a priest from the time he was seven and he was laser focused on the fact that he was a priest for the rest of his life. His second lens was rooted in the traditional concept of the priest as one who mediates between God and people. Mediator or bridge builder characterized clearly how he saw himself both in his Catholic ministry and his work on government commissions.
Hahnenberg describes Hesburgh’s important work on the Civil Rights Commission and 16 other Presidential appointments to other commissions and other works for the country and beyond. To each he brought a moral compass and a desire to bring opposing sides together.
The author highlights one of Hesburgh’s greatest contributions. That was to Catholic higher education in the United States. Both identifying adjectives were important for Hesburgh. A Catholic university was to be a place where faith and reason needed to be in dialogue and to do that properly, it had to be free of outside influences which could hinder this dialogue. He sponsored a meeting of a number of Catholic college presidents where the attendees developed a position paper which outlined a strategy for re-aligning the structure of Catholic colleges in the post Vatican II Church. In order to ensure the freedom of the university, these academic institutions could no longer be controlled by outside influences like local bishops or the religious orders or congregations which had founded them and continued to have a say in the college’s internal life. The paper argued for a separate board of trustees, comprised mostly of lay people, which would name the president and oversee the integrity of the college. This required bishops and religious congregations to transfer ownership of their institutions to these boards of trustees with certain reserved powers.
This movement, led by Hesburgh, did not have universal support. Hahnenberg addresses some of the concerns raised in a recently published book by Holy Cross Father William Miscamble (American Priest: The Ambitious Life and Conflicted Legacy of Notre Dame’s Father Ted Hesburgh). There are those who believe that Hesburgh’s legacy has actually contributed to the loss of Catholic identity of Catholics colleges. Hahnenberg, who had written earlier on this very topic, is not in agreement with their assessment.
This long-serving president of Notre Dame continued his bridge building on campus in several conflictual situations. These involved campus life, civil rights on campus and the Vietnam war. To each situation he brought his skills as a bridge builder.
Hesburgh’s retirement began with a year of touring with his faithful right hand, Father Ned Joyce. For ten months they toured the Western states in a borrowed RV and then, on the Queen Elizabeth II they sailed to Asia, Africa, and Australia. After the cruise, he returned to his office at Notre Dame where he wrote his autobiography, walked the campus and traveled around receiving honorary degrees and other honors.
Hahnenberg has done a fine job in describing to his readers the life of this man, this priest, this mediator, who ushered Notre Dame University into true greatness. He died just short of his 98th birthday.
Patrick J. Riley, D.Min.
Book Review Editor